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Matritech, Inc. (NASDAQ: NMPS), Newton, Mass., and Sysmex Corporation, the 10th largest diagnostic company in the world and the largest in Japan, have formed a partnershipto develop an automated Pap smear test. This new approach will use Sysmex's flow cytometry technology and Matritech's patented NMP179(TM) protein biomarker to perform highly accurate cell-by-cell analysis for cervical cancer.

Currently, the Pap smear requires evaluation by trained cytotechnologists to identify the specimens at high risk of cervical cancer. The new technology will enable laboratories to automate the process of separating normal samples from those requiring pathologist attention. This change is expected to reduce human error, improve early detection and lower healthcare costs. Sysmex will market the new technology worldwide; the first target will be the $1 billion U.S. market.

"We are pleased to have negotiated worldwide exclusive rights to NMP179 as part of our partnership with Matritech," said Hisashi Ietsugu, president and CEO of Sysmex. "We have evaluated numerous potential markers for cervical cancer and believe that nuclear matrix proteins, particularly NMP179, represent the best technology to combine with our equipment."

Under the terms of the agreement, Sysmex will make a multi-million dollar investment in Matritech including the purchase of equity at a premium to the current market price and milestone payments during development. Sysmex will also make a significant financial commitment to the research and development of the product. Following the product's completion, Matritech will supply Sysmex with NMP179 antibodies while Sysmex will pay royalties based on the sales of Matritech's reagents.

"As many as 60 million Pap smear tests are performed each year in the United States alone," said Stephen D. Chubb, CEO and chairman of Matritech. "This partnership with Sysmex is significant for Matritech because it not only allows us an opportunity to revolutionize the way cervical cancer is detected and gain market share in this fast growing industry, but it provides further validation of our NMP technology."

Pre-clinical studies have shown that Matritech's NMP179 can identify both low- and high-grade cervical dysplasia, by detecting the nuclear matrix protein that is produced by cervical carcinomas.

About Sysmex

Sysmex Corporation, headquartered in Kobe, Japan, has been developing and manufacturing laboratory diagnostic systems for hematology as well as for hemostasis, immunochemistry and urinalysis since 1968, and is a global market leader in integrated laboratory automation. The company has built a strong leadership worldwide.

Additional company information is available on the Internet at

About Matritech

Matritech is a leading developer of proteomics-based diagnostic products for the early detection of cancer. Using its patented proteomics technology, Matritech has identified proteins correlated with bladder, breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancers. Matritech is one of the first companies to successfully employ proteomics to create diagnostic products. The company holds one of only two FDA tumor marker approvals for the initial detection of cancer. The FDA-approved NMP22 bladder cancer test is currently used by urologists. In addition, the company has two promising blood-based cancer detection programs in clinical development, NMP66(TM) for breast cancer and NMP48(TM) for prostate cancer. NMP technology was licensed exclusively to Matritech from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

For more information, call 617/646-1052.
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Article Details
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Publication:Worldwide Biotech
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 1, 2003

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